The Role of Expertise in the EU’s Emerging Diplomatic System

Tannelie Blom*, Sophie Vanhoonacker - Kormoss

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

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The focus of this chapter is on the organisation and role of expertise in the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). It more particularly examines how the High Representative/Vice President (HR/VP) and the European External Action Service (EEAS) have organised the gathering and processing of European foreign policy expertise and whether this has led to contestation. Based on a case study on the Asia-Pacific department, it first identifies the rules of the game underlying the organisation of expertise in the EEAS and successively explores the day-to-day practice of these rules. The chapter does not limit itself to subject matter expertise but also includes political expertise, procedural expertise, policy expertise and expertise on experts. Building on social psychology, it focuses on expert groups rather than on individual experts as the basic unit of analysis. The exploratory case study on the Asia-Pacific department learns that the EEAS is in general able to perform as an expertise driven organization, notwithstanding its limited operational budget, successive reductions in staff numbers, and its staff rotating policy. There is a clear division of roles whereby EEAS staff concentrates on expert, political and process expertise, while subject matter and policy expertise are sourced externally. Thanks to flexible internal rules, EEAS staff members are able to identify and work with the required sources rather easily. The way in which the EEAS has organized the gathering and processing of European foreign policy expertise has not led to contestation, either from the member states, the Commission, or the broader public. There are occasional frictions between the EEAS and the member states, as well as between the EEAS and the Commission. However, such tensions are not so much about the use of expertise but rather concern the delineation of competences, political reliability, and different degrees of openness.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Contestation of Expertise in the European Union
EditorsVigjilenca Abazi, Johan Adriaensen, Thomas Christiansen
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-54367-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-54366-2
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

SeriesEuropean Administrative Governance


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